Friday, October 31, 2014

Masskara Festival - Bacolod City (The City of Smiles)

The Masskara Festival is held each year during the 3rd week of October in Bacolod City, known for being a relatively friendly city and it bears the nickname "City of Smiles". The word "Masskara" was coined by the late AAB president Ely Santiago from the two words "mass" which means "many or a multitude of the people" and the Spanish "kara" meaning "face", thus means a multitude of smiling faces. A smiling mask created by the organizers to dramatize the Negrenses happy spirit.

Like any other Festivals they also have Masskara Street Dance Competition, competing different Barangays in Bacolod City with their colorful masked dancers gyrate to the infectious rhythm to the Latin musical beat in an astonishing display of proficiency, array, coordination and stamina.

Some highlights of their Festivals are the beauty pageant, drum and bugle corps competitions, sports events, food festivals, carnivals, musical concert and electric masskara (so sad :( I was not able to witness their electric masskara) better luck next time :).

Masskara Dance Competition

 Masskara Street Dance Contest

Masskara Dance Competition

Me in the crowd, great experience indeed. I really enjoyed the Festival and I would like to say thank you/we (Me, Neil and Jed) THANK YOU! Darwin Asuncion for providing the accommodation free of charge during our stay in Bacolod City.
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Sinulog 2015 Schedule of Activities

December 01 – January 31, 2015 : Sinulog Street Fair, Osmeña Blvd.
December 27, 2014 – January 24, 2015 : Sinulog 2014 Photo Exhibit @ SM City Cebu
December 30, 2014 (Tuesday) : Sinulog Fun Run
5:00 A.M. : Elimination Sinulog 2015 Dance Crew

January 8, 2015 (Thursday)       Opening Salvo: Walk with Jesus
4:00 A.M. : Assembly Time (Area) Fuente Osmeña
4:30 A.M. : Start of Walk-Fuente Osmeña Blvd. – Basilica del Sto. Niño
5:30 A.M. : Installation of Hermano & Hermana Mayores 2015

January 9, 2015 (Friday)     Sinulog 2015 Kick Off
10:00 A.M. : Sinulog Trade Fair @ SM City Cebu by Department of Trade and Industry
2:00 P.M. : Solemn Mass (Basilica del Santo Niño)
3:00 P.M. : Launching Parade (Basilica del Santo Niño to CCSC)
7:00 P.M. : Opening and Launching Program, Fuente Osmeña
8:00 P.M. : Sinulog Idol (Fuente Osmeña Circle)
9:00 P.M. : Street Party Bands

January 10, 2015 (Saturday)       Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan
1:00 P.M. : Parade of Participants, Capitol Site to Cebu City Sports Center
2:00 P.M. : Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan @ Cebu City Sports Center
6:30 P.M. : Cultural Show (Fuente Osmeña)

January 11, 2015 (Sunday)     Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan
4:00 P.M. : Cebu City 2015 Marathon –
1:00 P.M. : Parade of Participants, Plaza Independencia to Cebu City  Sports Center
2:00 P.M. : Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan @ Cebu City Sports Center
6:00 P.M. : Grand Finals of Sinulog Choral Competition
6:30 P.M. : Cultural Show (Fuente Osmeña)
8:00 P.M. : Sinulog Idol (Fuente Osmeña)
9:00 P.M. : Concert @ the Fuente Osmeña, Street Party Bands

January 12, 2015 (Monday)    
6:30 P.M. : Cultural Show (Fuente Osmeña)
8:00 P.M. : Sinulog Idol (Fuente Osmeña)
9:00 P.M. : Concert @ the Fuente Osmeña, Street Party Bands

January 13, 2015 (Tuesday)                  
6:30 P.M. : Cultural Show (Fuente Osmeña)
8:00 P.M. : Sinulog Idol (Fuente Osmeña)
9:00 P.M. : Concert @ the Fuente Osmeña, Street Party Bands

January 14, 2015 (Wednesday)       
9:00 A.M. : Airport Welcome (Balikbayan Flights)
6:30 P.M. : Cultural Show (Fuente Osmeña)
7:00 P.M. : Ms. Cebu 2015 Coronation Night

January 15, 2015 (Thursday)    Sinulog 2015 Idol Grand Finals
Sinulog Festival Queen Runway Competition and Photoshoot

January 16, 2015 (Friday)      Visual Merchandising Contest (Dept. Stores and Malls)
4:00 A.M.   Sinulog 2015 Dance Crew Finals
                 Sinulog Festival Queen 2015 Coronation Night

January 17, 2015 (Saturday)            
6:00 A.M. : Fluvial Procession of the Miraculous Image of the Sto. Niño
9:00 A.M. : Re-enactment of the Baptism of Queen Juana and Rajah   Humabon Bsilica del Santo Niño
2:00 P.M. : Solemn Procession of the Miraculous Image of Sto. Niño
7:00 P.M. : Sinulog Fireworks Comkpetition @ SM City Cebu
7:00 P.M. : Street Party @ Fuente Osmeña and Plaza Independencia

January 18, 2015 (Sunday)   Sinulog Grand Parade
4:00 A.M. : Mañanita Mass @ Basilica del Sto. Niño
6:00 A.M. : Pontifical Mass with His Eminence Jose S. Palma
8:00 A.M. : Holy Mass @ Cebu City Sports Center
9:00 A.M. : Sinulog Grand Parade Carousel Kick Off
7:00 P.M. : Grand Finale and Grand Fireworks @ Cebu City Sports Center
7:30 P.M. : Street Party Bands, Fuente Osmeña
9:00 P.M. : Pyrospectacular Show (Pyromusical Show @ SM City Cebu)
5:00 P.M. – 2:00 A.M. : Concert Series sa Sugbo @ SRP Grounds
12:00 MN : Sinulog Fireworks @SRP

January 19, 2015 (Monday)   Awarding Ceremonies @ Cebu City Sports Center
January 23, 2015 (Friday)     “HUBO”
January 24, 2015 : Judging of Finalists Short Film/Video Documentary Contest
                               Sinulog 2014 Photo Contest Winners Exhibit

January 31, 2015                                 
1:00 P.M. : Judging of Finalists Sinulog Short Film Festival @ SM City Cebu
6:00 P.M. : Awarding Ceremonies Photo Contest, Short Film and
                  Video Documentary Contest @ SM City Cebu

January 31, 2015 – February 8, 2015      
                   Photo Exhibit “Winning Photos Sinulog 2014 @ SM City Cebu

Source: Sinulog.Ph

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Disappointment of Mt. Lanaya Climb (Kalo-Kalo Peak) Alegria Cebu

This is not my story, I would just like to share a story from concerned citizen/climber enthusiast that everyone should be aware of. 

Last Saturday, September 6, 2014, we have reserved 20 slots for the Mt. Lanaya day hike via Barangay Legaspi Trail with some friends from Luzon and Mindanao, with the aim to help promote Mt. Lanaya as one of the Mountain Climbing destinations here in Cebu. Upon booking, we were not informed of any updates on the Hike fee that is being imposed by the LGU. With this, we expected that we will only be paying Php10.00 for the hike fee, just like how much we were charged before. Also, we expected that we will be assigned with some guides, expecting to pay them for only Php200.00 each – the same with what we paid few months ago.

Unfortunately, we were only shocked to know that we were obliged to pay Php50.00 for the hike fee and Php500.00 for each guide, requiring us to have 1 guide for every 5 guests/hikers, upon arriving and registering our names at the Barangay Legaspi trail entry. We were required to pay Php2,850.00 for the total of 19 participants which includes the hike fee and 4 guides.

Upon agreeing to pay the said amount, we asked for an official receipt; however, they only provided us with an acknowledgement receipt, saying that the Municipality is still working on an Ordinance to make things official and that they are still trying to produce the official receipts; and that these new fees has been implemented only since “last month”.

At first, we were very optimistic to promote the area and help the locals. But all the inspirations expired when along the hike, we have noticed that only 1 out of the 4 guides (named Ian, who was in the head group) was able to see which trail to follow towards the peak of Lanaya. It became so annoying to us that the 3 guides who were assigned to lead the middle group and the tail group kept CALLING Ian saying lines like “Ian, huwata mi” or “Ian, asa na mo dapit?”, or “Ian, ayaw lang kaayo palayo”. Instead of hearing the sounds of nature, which is one of the purpose of climbing mountains, we were dismayed to hear such calls from the guides whom we paid to help us were not first timers in Mt. Lanaya. We were wondering why and how they became accredited guides when they do not know the trails and were even afraid to be left alone with the group; not to mention that they were almost lost in the woods, unable to find the final trail towards the peak. Worst, the guide who was with us in the head pack/group did not even bother to go back to the trail and help the rest of the guides find their way.

I am writing this letter (to Department of Tourism - Region VII) NOT to scold anyone of file a complain. I just simply want to help you. I love the trails and the view of Mt. Lanaya and I am very saddened with this situation, worst to the point, that I cannot anymore suggest this trip to my friends here in Cebu nor from other places in the country. I will not do any recommendations to anyone who will ask me about Mt. Lanaya; not until you will fix this problem. And I am very much willing to help you.

The concerned citizen was right, in order to make things better and to make Mt. Lanaya be attractive to hikers/climbers; if the local ordinance is already approved and to be implemented, they should provide all the details to anyone and make sure that all fees, regulations, etc. has been relayed to the inquirer and should be posted in front of the Barangay Hall of Legaspi.

Official Receipts (current Official Receipt of the Municipality) must be issued as mandated by law.

It is very important that all accredited guides have undergone TECHNICAL training about hiking (which includes trail and camp management, trail etiquette, etc.), emergency response, ropemanship, sanitation (which includes proper garbage disposal), security and safety.

Below is the response letter (some important points) from the Department of Tourism Region – VII.

Thank you Ma'am for sharing this information that everyone should know. We are hoping that the Department of Tourism - Region VII will conduct an investigation regarding this matter and hoping for a positive response as soon as possible.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bad Experienced (Mt. Lantoy, Agta Cave, Tourism Office Argao Cebu)

Today, I am gonna share my recent visit and bad experienced to the Town of Argao Cebu with my co-mountaineers.

BOOKINGS Tourism Office - Argao Cebu

A week before sa among climb para sa Mt. Lantoy, Argao Cebu. Nagpa booked mi sa ilang tourism office through phone call. Niingon tong nakatubag nga naa daw 500 pesos for TOURISM FEE? tapos kami na daw mobayad sa guide namo Php500.00 each guide. Niingon ko nga one guide lang amoa kay mahal ra gyod kaayo ang 500 pesos for the guide lang nya ikaw pa mopakaon sa guide. Event Booked.


At 1PM naabot mi sa Argao diretso mi sa Tourism Office ug didto ang mo guide namo nagpa-abot. Tapos gisugat mi sa usa ka guide nga we need to have two guides from the locals there kay delikado daw ang Agta Cave and for our safety. Ni okay mi nga two guides lang for our safety. Tapos niana ang usa ka guide sa tourism nga pwede ba daw nga mosabay nalang mi sa lain nga guest (two lang sila) since we were in a SHOESTRING BUDGET nisugot lang mi kay para maka save, unom diay mi kabuok, btw. So okay na, larga nami. Walay briefing gyod nga klaro nga mao ni mao na.


Pag-abot namo sa Brgy. Conalum nagpa register mi (Php20.00) no OR has been issued. We were waiting sa among guide mga 15 minutes. Pag-abot na sa among guide nagprepare na para sa Agta Cave (exploring the cave mga one hour). After caving nibalik mi sa Barangay Hall kay didto mi manukad para Mt. Lantoy.  PAYMENT- pag-abot namo sa Barangay Hall, niana ang usa ka guest nga iya-iya nalang daw mi ug bayad sa guide kay half day raman daw sila so nibayad sila sa guide nga taga Tourism Office, wala nalang mi ni reklamo sa among gikasabotan para walay daghan istorya na.

Ang usa ka guide (Tourism Office) ni approached nako nga maningil sila sa bayad. I told him nga sir pwede ba ugma nalang after sa event namo kay adto lang mi mo bayad sa TOURISM OFFICE. So ni okay siya. Nakasugod mi ug trekking from Barangay Conalum mga 6:20PM na. While walking, sige mi ug discuss sa among bayrunon kay mahal ra gyod kaayo ang guide laliman kag tag 500 each guide murag pang major climb man ang bayad. So among gihangyo ang duha ka guides nga pwede ba Php1,000.00 lang for two days? instead of paying Php2,000.00 kay kong dili mo mosugot manguli nalang mi kay wala na jud mi budget kay among budget gud for one guide lang dapat. Pasalamat mi kay ni okay ra among mga guide siguro nakasabot ra sila sa among side pod. So Larga!...


Mga usa jud ka oras usa mi naabot sa camping site. Dimalas kay walay tubig kay naputol ang hose gikan sa water source. Good for us kay ang guide nga nikuyog namo, naa siyay uncle didto nagpuyo so nakapangayo mi ug tubig para magamit namo sa among pagluto kay ang tubig nga among gidala not enough ra... Dinner done. Wala mi ikasulti sa among guide kay mga buotan kaayo ang guide namo.


Pag-abot namo sa ilang konsehal gisingil mi sa kulang daw kay for the guide fee? so niana ko nga sir adto lang mi sa Tourism Office mohatag kay mangayo mi ug OR, so ni okay rapod siya. Pasalamat lang pod mi niya kay gipangitaan mi ug motor para among masakyan diretso sa Tourism Office. Sa paglakaw niya among gihatag ang bayad sa duha namo ka guide nga Php1,000.00.

TOURISM OFFICE July 20, 2014

Pag-abot namo sa Tourism Office nag storyahay mi sa konsehal nga kulangan gyod daw mi ug 500 sa usa ka guide. Ingon mi ngano man magkulang mi ug usa ka guide nga two raman among guide kay kadtong sa guest naa man pod sila guide, kay kung hunahunaon sila ang mas naka save gani kay sa amoa kay ang caving lang daan need jud daw 3 ka tawo didto? Actually, dili baya gyod ni mao ang among itinerary unta (our itinerary dapat kay from Mt. Lantoy-Caving-Bugasok Falls) kay mo diretso na gyod mi unta ug katkat pag-abot namo sa Barangay Conalum.

Nalahi napod ang istorya, ingon napod siya "Murag mao na ang sa guide nga usa nga kulang" (ni insist napod mi niya kay mao man jud ingon sa taga Tourism nga naa daw mi bayad Php500.00 para sa tourism office?) so nanawag siya ug taga Tourism para ma settle mi kay wala man jud mi nihatag sa Php500.00. Hangtud nga naabot ang Admin Officer. So pag-abot sa Admin Officer nanud mi sa usa nako ka kauban sa Tourism Office nila to talk with her including ni konsehal. Ang diskusyon nagpadayon nga mao ni mao na ilang protocol nga we need to pay the guide daw. I think, sa among part wala mi sayop kay nibayad mi sa guide namo.

And I quote "Okay, if you will not pay the guide then there is nothing to talk about"- admin officer. Pinakuha pa sa pitaka ug ingon dayon "Okay kuya, I will pay you 500 for them" (ug daghan pang satsat sa admin). Iya gipasuwat among mga names tapos we asked her nga para asa?unsay purpose? she told us nga for the UPDATES? lol.


Pagpadung palang namo sa highway para magsakay ug bus nahibong mi nga naay ni duol namo nga nagmotor nga niana nga pabalikon daw mi, ingon mi para asa man? ang tubag basta pabalikon mo. Sus, nahibong mi naay upat ka police nga nagsunod namo. Ulaw kaayo mi kay murag unsa among sala, naglakaw nalang intawon mi nga uwaw kaayo kay ang mata sa tanan tawo diri namo nagtan-aw.


Pag-abot namo sa police station, didto ang Admin officer. Mao to balik nasad ug discuss atubangan sa police. Kay dili daw mi dapat mag ingon ato kay konsehal daw to ang guide, show a little respect daw. Kay unsa diay among gibuhat? nga ang among tumong ug tuyo kay ang insakto man nga pamaagi. Igo raman niingon ang police nga MISCOMMUNICATION lang and LESSON LEARNED. Pagpanguli na namo, naa mi nasugatan nga lain group (21 sila kabuok mountaineers) gipadakop kay wala niagi sa Tourism Office.

Sa tibuok nako nga kinabuhi karon pako nakasud sa police station. Sa akong experience sa Argao dili ko makalimot aning hitaboa ug dili nako mobalik sa Argao. Sa Admin Officer sa Argao - as tourism officer dapat kabalo ka unsay mga kalihokan sud sa inyong office ug dapat maminaw ka sa among concerns (dili kay daghan paka ug yawyaw), ang among gusto kay ang insaktong pamaagi, ayaw pag ingon nga wala namo gi respeto ang barangay konsehal? tapos giingnan pami nimo/ninyo nga Arrogant mi? unsa nga pagka ARROGANT? amo lang gi fight kong unsay sakto ug dili insakto. Klaroha na ang PROTOCOL ninyo, dili mo magpataka nga naa mi bayranan sa TOURISM OFFICE nga Php500.00?

Dapat tarungon ninyo ang mo bisita sa inyong lugar para ganahan pod mag magbalik2x. Abi nimo ma'am daghan nami na adtuan nga lugar, sila paman gani ang mo offer ug sakyanan with no additional costs. Ingon paka first time ni ninyo na encounter? first time pod ni namo na encounter nga pinaka worst nga Tourism Officer. Do your job as a Tourism Officer not a Terrorism Officer.